This post refers to an ASA ruling made in August 2013 but only posted now.
A consumer lodged a consumer complaint against Double Shot mailer sent to her directly.
The pamphlet states, inter alia, “EAT EVERYTHING AND AS MUCH AS YOU WANT! NO NEED TO EXERCISE… and lose up to 8 KILOS IN A WEEK! The advertising had before and after photographs of various women accompanied by testimonials.
Double Shot / JA Tweehuijsen / 21683
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Mrs Jennefer Ann Tweehuijsen Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Health Broadcast Limited Respondent
06 Aug 2013
Mrs Tweenhuijsen lodged a consumer complaint against Double Shot mailer sent to her directly.
The pamphlet states, inter alia, “EAT EVERYTHING AND AS MUCH AS YOU WANT! NO NEED TO EXERCISE… and lose up to 8 KILOS IN A WEEK! The advertising had before and after photographs of various women accompanied by testimonials. The advertising further states, inter alia, the following:
“The Double Shot treatment consists of two capsules: the first burns the calories you’ve already accumulated, as if you were doing one hour of exercise a day, but without needing to move from your chair…
The second eliminates up to 90% of the calories you’re going to consume, exactly as if you were on the strictest diet but without having to deprive yourself of your favourite foods whatsoever!”
It also contains a “6 Questions for Dr Brent …” section which answers why and how this product is claimed to be so successful, why people are guaranteed to lose so much weight and why this product works even if one is a “big eater”.
In essence, the complainant submitted that the advertising is misleading and unsafe in that the only way to lose weight is by eating regular healthy meals and exercising regularly. One should aim to lose not more than 1 kilogram or at most 2 kilograms per week, as more could be unhealthy. The claims in the advertising are totally ridiculous or the pills will cause the person taking them to purge, which is very dangerous for one’s health.
RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the complaint the following clauses were taken into consideration:
• Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – Misleading claims
• Section II, Clause 13 – Safety
• Appendix D – Advertising for slimming
The advertiser submitted that they were not aware that they are contravening the Code in any way and that in future, before the advertising is used, the ASA will be sent a copy for approval.
ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.
The ASA has a long standing principle which holds that where an advertiser provides an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised, the undertaking may, at the discretion of the ASA, be accepted without considering the merits of the matter
The respondent submitted that the pamphlet would not be used again until it is amended to conform to the Code. This appears to address the complainant’s concerns at this time, and there is no need for the Directorate to consider the merits of the matter.
The respondent is also advised that the ASA does not deal with the preapproval of advertising. The respondent should approach the Association of Communications and Advertising (ACA) for pre-clearance advice.
Finally, the respondent would do well to ensure compliance with the clauses identified above, as well as others pertaining to substantiation (Clause 4.1 of Section II) and the use of testimonials (Clause 10 of Section II) when compiling future campaigns.
The undertaking is therefore accepted on condition that the advertising is withdrawn in its current format within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide, and is not used again in future.